August 25, 2017

Red Fern🍂

Posted in Devotional, Prayer of blessing, true story tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:47 am by Broken & Brave

 

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“How fast does a red fern grow?”

These are the words I would hear in the quiet of the night.

The first time I heard this question, in my spirit, was February 14, 2001…Valentine’s day. I find this so unique because as I reflect back upon it now…I realize it was in the beginning of a new season of soul for me. The Holy Spirit was beginning to “court me”.

For me, the girl who doesn’t really impress by canned holidays like V-Day…I still love the irony of it all.  God know my heart so well.

It’s the attention to detail I love.

After this experience on Valentine’s Day, I didn’t hear anything of it for another six months. “How fast does a red fern grow?” I would hear it again while performing the mindless little tasks of the day.

“How fast does a red fern grow?”

“Lord, you have asked me this before” as I recalled to myself, but enough time had lapsed that I had forgotten all about the puzzling question. Then, I heard this question over and over at random points of time over an approximate 18 month period. I would hear the question run through my mind, but then nothing, no additional comments came with it. The whole thing got me curious and more than just a little perplexed. I never bothered doing any research on the plant. I would only reply in prayer, “I don’t know, how fast?” I will be honest, I would also wonder why this was important and what it had to do with me. However, I am sharp enough to know that if the Lord was whispering it, it was for a purpose and it had complete relevance in my life. Then it came…the question once again, asked in the same manner it had been asked every time before, “Nicole, how fast does a red fern grow?” Only this time I heard more. You better believe, when the Lord whispers something perplexing into the stillness of your heart and then permits it to linger there for a time, you pay attention when it arises again. I quickly got my journal and pen…

“How fast does a red fern grow…as fast as I tell it to.”

You’re probably thinking, “That’s it?” I know I was. Then, came more…

A red fern is a unique, flowering plant that only grows in the deepest, darkest portion of the forest. Even though it receives minimal sunlight, it manages to get ample ultraviolet rays and nutrients. This plant is unique in nature and rarely found by man. This plant is special. All of these words flooded my heart and flowed through my pen. I was bewildered, inspired, aroused and amused all at the same time. I knew nothing of this red fern, so how was it that I “just knew” all of these facts? Were they actual facts at all?

At this point, I was definitely curious enough to do a little research. What I found was that everything I had written in my journal was absolutely true! John and I even found a photo of the red fern that was taken at Volcano House National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii in May of 1999. This is significant because the red fern was thought to not actually exist. John and I found a forum of botanists who discussed the fern and learned that there were purple ferns and autumn ferns, but no red fern, or so many thought. The fact is, the red fern is so rare and the color shows bright, but only under the perfect conditions, so the chances of capturing it by the human eye (or camera) are small.

This entire process, of hearing the Lord, receiving the insight and then finding the research was from 2/14/01-4/10/02. It was a season of my life where I was growing in my relationship with God by leaps and bounds through trial and dark things and much pain. But my God gives beauty for ashes and this was some amazing fruit showing itself in the form of spiritual gift of Knowledge. I was more than happy for all I had endured to receive such a unique and specific gift.

I do not write of the red fern to tell you of my journey to hearing God’s voice, though I believe it is important for you to know because I am asking you to trust me to encourage you. You are reading this and therefore you are giving me your time and attention and that is valuable. So, it is important you understand my experiences in hearing the Lord, not just my credibility to love and encourage your heart as I know you can see is true. I want to impart Pure Exhortation to you. Pure exhortation that first and foremost comes from the inspired Word of God and secondly comes from the Wonderful Counselor he has placed inside me.

I know God was more interested in using this fern to enlighten my heart toward Him, His Voice, His Guidance and Wisdom. He knew I had read the book as a child about the red fern and so it would strike a chord with me. He also knew I hadn’t thought of a red fern one single time since fifth grade. He knew this would stir me…stir me deep.

Me being one for analogies I immediately become contagious with them in this story.

Did you know you are like this fern that turns red? You are! Allow me to show you how.

This plant is rare, unique, SPECIAL…just as you are. The Lord knit you together in your mothers womb (Psalm 119). It was not by accident or happenstance that you should exist on this planet. You were designed with purpose on purpose. Every experience of life, both the good and the bad, are allowed and are used to shape you and develop you to grow, to shine, to add color to this world.

You are special.

You are Vibrant.

God made you and if you are in darkness, he will find you. He already has found you. He found you in all of your darkness and wants to rescue you from this pit. Whatever your pit may be. Your darkness may be any number of things, you know what it is and you are probably thinking of it right now. He wants to rescue you, like a Knight in Shining armor (men need that too you know!).

Despite a lack of light, he wants to nourish you, even in the dark place, heal you, love you and he wants to watch you grow. All gardeners love to see their botanical gardens flourish and grow!

Fix your eyes on him, Beloved, fix your eyes on him. Allow the Maker of Heaven and Earth be like ultraviolet rays upon your wilted leaves and petals bringing out your luster and unique color. He will be like a heavy moisture, just like the damp soil of the tropical rain forest. As the moisture increases, so does the shine of your leaves…your heart…your thoughts. Your countenance becomes radiant.

The leaves of the red fern will lean toward the soil around it that contains the most moisture.

Lean into Him today, he wants to soften that thing that has made you hard.

“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, leaning not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your path straight”

Proverbs 3:5-6

He wants to bandage that ache and pain that has plagued you. He wants to erase and change the perspective of that hurt that stung so deep as a child. He wants to raise you up and showcase you just like the Red Fern.

He sees the past, the present and the future. He has created all things and knows all things. Let him create a new heart in you. He is full of Hope for you. He wants His Hope to shine in you and through you…for there are still countless others out there who have no Hope at all.

I BELIEVE IN YOU!

Shine true, Shine bright, SHINE ON in everything you say and do! His thoughts are upon you and so are mine.

Blessings, Nicole

“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” Numbers 6:24

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August 8, 2017

Cluck or Soar?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:59 am by Broken & Brave

You can cluck with the ducks or soar like an eagle…

It’s easy to have an opinion. Criticism is never difficult to find and it’s very easy to get sucked into negative words, gossip and here say. But when we gather together and complain we become like a crowd of ducks clucking. Quack! Quack! Quack! It could get old listening to that and it does little productive outside of weighing a person down to the point they might drown in negativity.

I don’t know about you, but I prefer clear skies and space to fly. I’d rather soar with the eagles than cluck with the ducks.

“When it rains, most birds head for shelter; the Eagle is the only bird that, in order to avoid the rain, starts flying above the cloud.” ~Unknown

We see examples of ducks and eagles in the Word of God:

•Joshua and Caleb=eagles; they spied out the promise land and said it was flowing with milk and honey and they could take the Giants. Ducks=everyone who spied with them and said it wasn’t possible. (Cluck. Cluck. Cluck.)

“Caleb told the people to be quiet and listen to Moses. Caleb said, “Let’s go now and take possession of the land. We should be more than able to conquer it.”

But the men who had gone with him said, “We can’t attack those people! They’re too strong for us!” So they began to spread lies among the Israelites about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored is one that devours those who live there. All the people we saw there are very tall. We saw Nephilim there. (The descendants of Anak are Nephilim.) We felt as small as grasshoppers, and that’s how we must have looked to them.” Numbers 13:30-33

 

•Gideon was an eagle because he believed God when He was told he could take the battle, but only if he released all kinds of soldiers first and did it at a deficit. The ducks? Everyone who agreed to leave the first round and told Gideon they were too afraid and didn’t want to fight.

“When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.’lJudges 6:12

•David was an eagle. Even as a young boy he had the stellar confidence in God by his side and knew he could slay a giant. The ducks? Everyone at the battle field who stood around trembling and doing nothing, including the King.

“David said to Saul, ‘Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.'”
1 Samuel 17:32

Sometimes eagles have moments when they are squeaking a bit like a duck. They have moments of doubt. That’s ok. It’s normal. It’s about picking yourself back up and pressing in. Elijah did. Immediately after performing a huge miracle he ran and hid in a cave because he heard Jezebel the wicked queen of Ahab was hunting him. After refreshing himself with some Living Water in that cave he pulled himself and his courage together and roared as he soared to the battle line. He defeated Jezebel with God’s help. He had to do nothing, she fell from her balcony. But he never gave up.

“Ahab told his wife Jezebel what Elijah had done and that he had killed the prophets. She sent a message to Elijah: ‘You killed my prophets. Now I’m going to kill you! I pray that the gods will punish me even more severely if I don’t do it by this time tomorrow.’ Elijah was afraid when he got her message, and he ran to the town of Beersheba in Judah.”

1 Kings 19:1-3

 

Many start strong. Many want on board when life is good and blessings are abundant. It’s the true warriors, God’s eagles, who continue to rise and fly when opposition and adversity is high. They have their eyes fixed on what’s ahead. They have vision and courage to cut through the storm and find sanctuary above it. They rise above, every time.

Many begin well, but fail to finish well. Stay your course. It doesn’t matter what the situation and circumstances around you look like. Sometimes we know God is up to something big when the stakes are high and we are called to rise and fly like we never have before. We know He has priceless and precious blessing in store and wants our hopes grounded and rooted in Him. He desires us prepared and equipped for the responsibility of it all.

Remain strong and resilient.
Fortitude resides within you.
Finish well.
Finish strong.
Block out the noise of those ducks who are complaining.
You are special and unique.
You were made to fly.
Spread your wings, now, give it a try.

Your best is yet to come.

~Nicole

“This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9

 

July 5, 2017

Sing…

Posted in Devotional, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:16 am by Broken & Brave

God is so insightful. He sees all. He knows all. He cares for all. He is like a vault, trusted, safe, a sure place of security to all we hold precious. So why do you not rest your investments with Him?

Everything you endure in life will prove to turn your sigh into a song. It will not only make you strong and infuse your own hope and resilient ability to cope with a number of adversities, it will do so for others. Every life experience has the ability to turn someone else’s sigh into a song.

It IS possible to cast your every care on Him. It IS possible to see His hand in everything. It IS POSSIBLE to rest and relax in peace in the midst of pressure. Once you find this place of tranquility it is like your own island by a stream. Quiet. Beautiful. Warm. Inviting.

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People travel the globe looking for a place to rest and refresh. But a troubled soul won’t find rest no matter where it goes. Make His heart your home. He will cradle your soul like a hammock. He will quench your fears and dry your tears. His is a beautiful Oasis. In this place of rest the only sighing you’ll be doing are ones of relief within a heart that is content. Blessed.

When you learn to trust God fully, seeing His hand in everything, He will change your sigh into a song.

~Nicole

“My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

March 29, 2017

Light & Life

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 6:29 am by Broken & Brave

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“Peace, when ruling the heart and ruling the mind, opens in both every avenue of joy.”     ~Sarah W. Stephens

As the body of Christ we are to have both unity and diversity, but all should be walking in intense levels of peace and joy. If you have yet to discover joy or its source, I hope this little diatribe will help you.

“Therefore with joy you will draw water from the well of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3

Joy is not the same as happiness. Joy flows from the soul despite conditions of life. When things are good, we have joy and happiness. When things are not so good, we may not have outward happiness, but we can flow in continual joy. True joy spills out onto others. We don’t just talk of joy and walk around sour. We have a sweet disposition that encourages others without requiring any words spoken. It is like a pleasing aroma that fills the air.

So how do you get there? You must fix your position. Stop focusing on the things not well in your life. Focus on your blessings. Everyone has a blessing! So find it, something to be thankful for. Maybe you struggle with gratitude? Ungratefulness is the most slippery path to misery and is the opposite of joy.

It will take work.

•You have to focus your mind on good, not evil (Phil. 4:8)

•When your thoughts stray, you quickly correct them and bring them back in alignment with something you might look forward to or something that brings your heart a light and life giving countenance.
(2 Corinthians 10:5)

Anything that produces light and life to your heart, think on these things. It could be your kids, your pet, it could be a favorite blanket you get to snuggle under after a long day. It could be how good you plan to feel after eating the healthy meal instead of the fast food. Example, I had a client last night tell me of the length and stress of her day. She has a very prominent position in my community with much responsibility. She was exhausted and almost skipped her workout, but decided she would feel better after if she went and she did! She looked forward to the “after” satisfaction vs. the exertion of the workout. She found her joy.

“In your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

You’ve got the idea. Once you find your joy you will know it. It will spill over on others like a gentle stream of refreshing waters. You won’t have to force yourself to smile, it will just glide across your face effortlessly.

If you haven’t found joy yet, don’t be upset. It eludes countless people. My pen is simply wanting to encourage you into some action steps to find it. So if your tired of the monotony of your misery, I hope this yields a key.

Come alive with Life and Light and be vibrant in Christ! ~Nicole

November 27, 2016

Abundance Found…

Posted in Devotional, true story, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 7:37 am by Broken & Brave

I love the story of George Mueller. A minister who built huge orphanages and did many great things by Faith. He rarely had a resource, other than gratitude. As he thanked God for the need met, while still in need, then a miracle would happen. Imagine what America would look like if we all did this. We’d have abundance without ever becoming spoiled. Let not this season of gratefulness end with the last bite of pie. Thank God for the answer before it comes…as if you already held it in your hand! Miracles flow and your faith for them will grow…

Abundance is found in Gratitude.
-Nicole

(photo by Aesthetically Alexandra)

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